School Name: Nakusp Secondary School
School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes
Inquiry Team Members:email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Matahematics / Numeracy
Focus Addressed: Experiential learning, Growth mindset
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? My focus was to help my ASDT students relate math with hands on projects and have them experience first hand visual evidence of mathematical concepts.
Scanning: Since I noticed that there was a whole spectrum of skill levels in mathematical concepts as an ADST teacher, I probed their level of understanding with self assessment and discussion. I also asked them to reflect on how they learn best. Since the class was very familiar with “Wonder Walks” where they would go for walks during which they brainstorm math concepts, it was quite easy to convey a connection between real life problems and visualization of the relevant math.
Focus: I chose this area because it was very natural for ADST to incorporate mathematical concepts such as measurement, area, and with C02 cars; speed and distance formulas. I was hoping for the students to visualize the speed of their cars and translate their numerical data into formulas that made sense.
Hunch: I have traditionally collected data for the purpose of comparison and judging but there is so much more that can be done with all the numbers. Students should be able to expand on the charts of numbers and engage in deeper mathematical thinking.
New Professional Learning: Growth mindset, as Carol Dweck has emphasized, is a key that ultimately promotes self regulation and deeper more meaningful learning. A new area to me, even though being an inherent part of ADST, is “Experiential Learning”. The stages of first allowing students to immerse themselves into a hands-on project and to then proceed to question and reflect on the results can be viewed as a necessity for true and deep learning to happen.
Taking Action: The strategy was to have students produce a woodwork project, in this case a C02 Dragster. This required the Design Process from a Design Brief to the completed prototype. With the goal of racing the dragsters, students all new that the results of their efforts would culminate on Race Day. Our digital timer produced a time to the thousandth of a second and we measured the track length in meters. Our Math teacher created a lesson around the formula for speed and conversions from meter to kilometers, and seconds to hours. With this knowledge, students were given the task to mathematically compute the speed of their cars in km/hr.
Checking: When I completed the student written “Final Self Reflection”, I noticed some interesting student comments that were almost contradictory. Many students have a hard time saying that they would like to try a new approach to their learning, but they unanimously agree that hands-on experiences are very valuable. Even though they agree that it was fun and useful to have first hand visual experience of the math problem, many of them still struggled with the math. There still seemed to be a subtle disconnect. I am truly not sure that the impact was as profound as I envisioned it to be.
Reflections/Advice: I learned that to plan a structured inquiry like this one, I would consider a number of changes:
1. it may benefit the students more if they were more involved with the inception of idea to create more ownership
2. to have consistent and focused mini lessons at the beginning of each class during the project instead of intermittent discussions and reflections
3. chunk the unit to be learned into sizes that will include even the most struggling students.